Review: ★Louder Than Love★ by Jessica Topper

In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband…and discovers a love that defies classification.

It’s been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth…the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian “Digger” Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids’ TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it’s unclear whose past looms larger: the widow’s or the rocker’s. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

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Review

5 stars

“You’ve got all this…this love – no, it’s louder than love. It’s passion and beauty built up inside you that deserves to burst out.”

So if you’re anything like me, you probably took a look at that book cover and synopsis and thought you’d be getting an angst filled NA story with a somewhat shy and mousy heroine and a tatted and tortured hero, right? Well you, my friend, couldn’t be further from the truth because this book was not that at all. It was so much more. It was a beautiful, lovely, emotional, and captivating story of love lost and learning to move on again. It was in a word, wonderful.

I’ll be honest, this is not my typical read. But I am so glad that I misjudged that cover and read it, because I would have missed out on an amazing book and a fantastic new author. This is NOT a New Adult novel. I’m not really sure why that genre even appears by this book. This is a contemporary romance with grown and mature MCs.

3 years ago Katrina Lewis lost her husband in a devastating train accident, leaving her a widow and a single mother to her young daughter Abbey.
Seeking solace sends her to the one place that still makes sense to her, her childhood home in Lauder Lake.

When a character and song behind her daughter’s beloved cartoon leads Kat to the idea of inviting the singer of the jingle to perform at the library she works in, her life takes a surprising turn. Through a case of mistaken identity, she meets recluse rocker Adrian.
I can’t help it, this is the image that burned itself into my mind when I read about Adrian. Just give him lighter hair and blue eyes, and yup!

To say that I loved Jessica Topper’s writing would be a gross understatement. I adored the realism with which she portrayed both of these characters. Kat and Adrian were written in such an endearing and pragmatic way, it was hard not to fall in love with them. The way their relationship developed was lovely and realistic. There was no insta-lust, insta-love, insta-anything.

Do you believe in love at first sight?”
“Hmmm, no. I don’t. I believe love involves the commitment of many senses, as well as your head and your heart, so I wouldn’t just rely on my eyesight.”

Jessica managed to write a love story for Kat and Adrian without taking away any of Kat’s love for her husband that passed away. It wasn’t downplayed at all. Kat loved her husband and grieved his loss every day. Yet you can completely understand what makes her fall for Adrian.

When I first read the blurb and saw Kat was a librarian, I imagined yet another somewhat awkward, slightly geeky, introverted heroine. She was not that at all.

I wasn’t sheltered. I was orderly.

She was such an endearing heroine, you can’t help but immediately like her.

Adrian was just amazing. He has battled a multitude of demons in his life, drugs being one of the biggest. Yet the way he is with Kat is not at all what you might expect. He was tender and romantic, but it didn’t seem contrived or fake. It was just perfect.

That’s not to say that this book didn’t have it’s level of steam. It did. But it was written in this understated way that it never took away from the romance.
There was no unnecessary angst thrown into the mix. I honestly can’t think of anything I didn’t like in this book. It was so refreshing to read about 2 grown and mature MCs without any unnecessary drama thrown in to take away from their story.

Kat was an amazing heroine. Your heart broke for her and what she went through. Her pain wasn’t sugar coated or glossed over. I particularly loved the way that her relationship with her daughter was written. I know I’ve said it a multitude of times already in my review, but it was so real, you feel everything right along with her. She had her good moments and her bad moments and I found myself tearing up reading about her struggles.

Kat’s daughter Abbey was the perfect addition to the characters. She was the third character that rounded out the book. I particularly loved the way Adrian was with her. Their relationship was adorable; the way Adrian fell in love with her as much as he did with Kat.

I really cannot write enough praise for this book. It’s a must read. A wonderful, romantic story about a second chance at love. I can’t recommend it enough.

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